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The Games: Two Poems by Janice Sapigao

‘these games draw lines / between crowds / i am one of many / who wonder, / how come the silicon valley / squats on san josé?’

By Janice Lobo Sapigao

In her new poetry collection microchips for millions, Janice Lobo Sapigao documents the labor exploitation of immigrant women in the making of California’s Silicon Valley, including the experience of her mother. Often hailed as a hub for technological innovation, the Silicon Valley carries a buried legacy of injustice: assembly line workers putting in intensely long hours and being exposed to toxic chemicals, all to produce the microchips so central to today’s global economy. Sapigao’s poetry has been recognized for unraveling social layers of the microchip, and serving as a site of protest against gentrification. Her collection is published by Philippine American Writers and Artists (PAWA) Inc.

microchips for millions by Janice Sapigao.
microchips for millions by Janice Sapigao.

“The following poems from microchips for millions,” Sapigao describes, “point out the ways in which sports teams and stadiums are subject to Bay Area gentrification. Middle- to upper-class interests, culture, and privilege in favor of winning teams divide loyal fans who’ve invested for years, and separate the teams from their home base and loyal fans.”

the games

“the warriors are giving up something with their move, with the bay area changing, though…there’s a good thing going in oakland right now, that’s all i know, and it’s being given up for something shinier and more lucrative. those aren’t synonyms for worse. just different.” – grant brisbee

even my precious dubs
are being offered
to sell (out) their home
for an upgrade to the city
and a view of the water

who knew that sports teams
could be gentrified, lured away
from communities who support
losses, trades, and mistakes?

while oracle arena sits in
industrial oakland,
among working-class
folks, fans, and families;
a move to san francisco
raises questions. who will
be televised and in
whose hometown?

the games

“fans in silicon valley expect more in their sports venues, so we wanted to make sure this stadium had innovation and fan engagement at the highest level” – dave kaval

can you evict the act
of redlining?

these games draw lines
between crowds
i am one of many
who wonder,
how come the silicon valley
squats on san josé?

much of this make-believe
results in real-life dangers

when you are designing,
and urban planning our future,
do you think of people
with allegiance,
with loyalty,
with pride –
without the business
of fandom?